Royals break winless streak in Vargas’ return
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Manager Ned Yost was unsure what to expect from his starting pitcher.
Jarrod Dyson had two hits, scored a run and stole a base in Jason Vargas’ first start in 14 months, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Chicago White Sox 3-2 on Saturday night to snap a five-game losing streak.
Vargas, who was making his first start in 423 days after having Tommy John surgery on August 5, 2015, gave up a first-inning run on Melky Cabrera’s RBI single, but retired eight of the last nine batters he faced.
"He was a little better than I expected," Yost said. "It’s been 14 months since he’s been on a major league mound and his first big league start since coming off Tommy John. I don’t know how you have expectations on anything like that. You just want to go out, feel good and get through it and come off of it healthy, on a good note. I think we accomplished all those things tonight."
Vargas said his stuff was "very similar" to his six minor league rehab starts.
"There were a couple of times where I got behind in some counts, (but) I think that’s just part of being back out there," Vargas said. "I felt pretty good about where I was able to throw the ball and how it went."
Vargas was pulled after 52 pitches and three innings. Dillon Gee (7-8) replaced Vargas and held the White Sox to one run and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
"Today is about Vargy coming back from TJ (Tommy John surgery)," Gee said. "That’s a big deal for him to come back and get a start again and come back healthy from that surgery. He did a great job. I just wanted to come in and hold it there."
Dyson, who is 10 for 15 off White Sox starter Miguel Gonzalez (4-7), singled to lead off the first, advanced to second on Whit Merrifield’s bunt single, stole second and scored on Kendrys Morales’ sacrifice fly.
Dyson, who extended his hitting streak to 10 games, also singled in the Royals’ two-run fifth. Hunter Dozier, who was making his second major league start, and Eric Hosmer delivered run-producing singles in the inning, which Alcides Escobar opened with a triple.
"He got in a bind there," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Gonzalez’s fifth inning. "I thought he got out of some trouble. It could have been worse. I thought he pitched his way out of it and they ended up getting two."
Avisail Garcia’s double, which struck the third base bag, scored Jose Abreu in the eighth for the final White Sox run. The White Sox went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners.
"We had opportunities," Ventura said. "We hit the ball pretty good, got some guys on base, just couldn’t cash them in."
Wade Davis worked a flawless ninth for his 25th save in 28 chances.
— FOX Sports KC (@FSKansasCity) September 18, 2016
Yost picked up his 1,000th career victory as a manager. He is the 62nd manager in big league history to reach that total. "You’re 62 years old. I don’t want to go home and drop dead of a heart attack at 999," Yost said and laughed. "I’d like to at least try to get to a thousand and then I can go any time after that."
The Royals designated RHP Chien-Ming Wang, who went 6-0 with a 4.22 ERA in 32 bullpen outings, for assignment. Wang won 19 games in back-to-back seasons, 2006-07 with the Yankees, before injuries derailed his career.
White Sox: DH Justin Morneau has not played since Monday, when he hurt his neck swinging against the Indians. "Old man neck," Morneau said. "I just have to be patient with it." Morneau said if his neck keeps improving he would take some swings Sunday and "maybe available Monday would be great." … IF Tyler Saladino did not play after injuring his left calf Friday. "Just a little tweak, so he’s getting treatment," Ventura said.
White Sox: LHP Jose Quintana is 0-2 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season.
Royals: LHP Danny Duffy is 0-1 with three no-decisions since an Aug. 21 victory over Minnesota.